Preacher Tells Congregation to Punch Effeminate Boys, Then Retracts Statement
On Tuesday a video was uploaded to the internet showing antigay North Carolina preacher Sean Harris speaking to the congregation at Fayetteville's Berean Baptist Church. In the sermon he instructs listeners to crack limp wrists and punch young children who exhibit gender-variant behavior. Girls playing sports are OK, but they must attempt to look pretty, according to Harris.
According to The Advocate's Neil Broverman, the pastor made these comments while pushing his congregation to vote for North Carolina's Amendment One, which would ban all recognized relationships that aren't heterosexual marriage.
Now he has taken a half-step away from those comments, saying he was joking about advocating violence against children.
"If I had to say it again, I would say it differently, no doubt," Harris says in the post (via the Fayetteville Observer). "Those weren't planned words, but what I do stand by is that the word of God makes it clear that effeminate behavior is ungodly. I'm not going to compromise on that."
The Advocate's Broverman notes that child advocates in the state condemned Harris' remarks along with members of the LGBT community. "We know that children thrive when they grow up in safe, stable, nurturing relationships," said Rosie Allen Ryan, president of the nonprofit Prevent Child Abuse North Carolina. "Unfortunately, this pastor is telling his congregation to harm their children."
Listen to a section of the sermon below (if you can stomach it).